Ball Speed is an extremely important factor in the game of bowling. All bowlers have a certain speed and rhythm they incorporate into their game for their footwork and arm timing to be in sync for a nice smooth delivery. An average ball speed is between 16 and 19 mph. Under 16 mph is considered a slow ball speed and above 19 would be considered a fast ball speed. Sometimes though, it may be necessary to change our speed in order to be able to achieve different results on the lane. A faster shot can give you more action at the pins, but will also cut down on the size of the hook.
Speed changing was a little difficult for me in the beginning, so I preferred to move left or right on the lane instead of changing my speed. I have gotten much better at it over the years though and you should definately learn to master it by trying it out in your practice sessions first of course, and when you feel confident, then try it out in your league.
*****A SLOWER BALL SPEED:
**Causes less ball friction on the lane and it will allow the ball to hook more.
** Will allow the ball more time to hook, but sometimes the ball can lose it's action power by the time it reaches the pins 60 feet away. So you don't want the ball to go too slow.
** Is good to use when the lanes are oily so the ball will have more of a chance to hook rather than skid.
**Can be achieved by moving closer to the foul line on the approach approximately 2-4 inches as a starting point. Keep your footwork the same, and make sure your arm movements and your steps feel like they are still in sync with each other keeping your timing and rhythm good. Moving closer to the foul line will make you automatically slow down your walk because you won't want to cross over the foul line.
** Can be achieved by changing the height of the back swing. Holding the ball down a littler lower at the stance will also make the back swing lower.
*****A FASTER BALL SPEED:
**Causes more ball friction on the lane and it won't hook as much.
** Is good to use if there isn't much oil on the lanes (dry lanes) and your ball is hooking too much.
** Can be achieved by "Muscling the ball", or using more physical exertion at the point of release.
** Can be achieved by standing a little farther back on the lane than normal, by a few inches as your starting point and then adjust more or less as necessary. This will make you walk a little faster on the approach.
** Can be achieved by holding the ball up higher than normal at the stance. This will also create a higher back swing.To do this, you will need to open your shoulders and hips slightly to be able to get the arm up higher when it's in back of you.
To calculate your ball speed, bring a friend with you that can use a stopwatch on his smart phone. Have him start it as soon as the ball leaves your hand. Then have him stop the watch as soon as the ball makes contact with the pins. Next you will need to divide the seconds by 60 (for the amount of feet the lane is). You can get a good idea of your ball speed after the calculation. Let's say for example it takes your ball 4 seconds to hit the pins after it leaves your hand. Just divide 4 into 60 which would give you a ball speed of 15 mph.
Fun Fact--- The fastest bowling ball speed recorded was 140 mph delivered by Jason Belmonte, an Australian pro-bowler who set the World-Go bowling record!!
Mastering ball speed can be a challenge, so YES just keep practicing and again, be patient with yourself. The more things you know that can help you achieve different results on the lanes, the more confidence you will get in bowling on different lane conditions and the higher your scores are going to be!
Join me next week when I'll be discussing "How To Find A Good Bowling Coach".
Good Luck and High Scoring!!
Hello!! My name is Joanie. Although I'm not a professional bowler, I have loved the sport for more than 45 years, averaged over 200 for several seasons, and learned quite a bit with research and experience.